OCT. 27, 2011 • Sony Corp. is buying out its Swedish partner for €1.05 billion ($1.45 billion) to assume full control of the Sony Ericsson mobile phone joint venture. The acquisition transfers a range of patents to Sony, and better enables the consumer electronics maker to better integrate smartphones with its other hardware and software products. In addition, cost savings will occur in R&D and marketing. Sony Ericsson controls approximately 2% of the mobile phone market worldwide, and posted €6.3 billion in sales during 2010.
Impact: With the growing popularity of tablets, bringing the smartphone business in-house makes sense if Sony can execute to better harmonize its smartphones, tablets, game consoles and PCs. The move may also bring us more products like the Xperia Play, as well. But we don’t see that as Sony’s main goal. Emulating Apple’s tight integration of its various iOS devices strikes us the real goal – probably through an adaptation of the Android OS.